Monday, February 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 2/28/11

I almost didn't do a menu plan for this week because my husband might not be home for dinner any night. My son is a picky eater and while my daughter will try everything she might not eat much. I do not enjoy cooking so if no one is going to eat I don't want to go to the trouble. If my husband isn't going to be here it is very easy to talk myself out of cooking. While we don't eat out or order in if I don't have a plan, we still don't eat very well. Our veggie & fruit intake goes down dramatically and that's not what I want. What I need is a list of easy meals but I just haven't accumulated them yet. So, here my plan for the week.

Monday-Tortellini Soup (from Mommy Hates Cooking/Pioneer Woman)
Tuesday-Chicken with Peanut Sauce
Wednesday-Scrambled Egg & Sausage Sandwiches on English Muffins & fruit
Thursday-left overs
Friday-homemade pizza
Saturday-at in-laws for daughter's birthday
Sunday-at parents house for daughter's birthday

Once I made my plan I realized I didn't have to cook that much this week and was able to have a couple good meals for my family. It didn't take near as much time to come up with my plan as I thought it was going to and it will be well worth the effort.

Submitting to my husband

Last week I wrote about issues I have with inequities that I see in the marriages of most of the people I know. Recently I saw two posts that made me reflect even more on those thoughts and my post. First, let me say that I LOVE these blogs. I read both of them regularly. I wasn't sure if I was even going to include the posts but then realized that just because I don't agree with these women, doesn't mean I am saying anything about them personally. Instead of commenting on their blogs, I am posting on my own blog. I am including the original posts because I think they show exactly what I am talking about when I write about marriage for my generation.

So, here I go.

The first blog post I saw was this one from Organizing Made Fun.

I considered leaving a comment saying something like, "I, too, iron my husband's shirts. I do it because I am better at it than he is (although that's not saying much.) I wonder if we are enabling them. I also wonder what message I am sending my children."

I didn't feel right leaving that kind of comment. It isn't meant to be mean, I really am wondering if other women feel the same way. About the ironing, it's not something I enjoy but it needs to be done and my husband appreicates it. Having said that, he could learn to do it just like I did. The reason my husband never learned to iron is because while his sister was inside practicing her ironing by ironing her dad's handerchiefs my husband was outside "painting" the porch with a paintbrush and water. Basically, he got to go outside and play in the water while his sister ironed. That is not the kind of message I want to send my daughter.

Then I saw this post from We Are That Family.

Before I go on, let me say again, I love this blog. I check it often and really respect Kristen, the author. That does not mean I have to agree with everything she says and believes.

I was right with her all the way until the end. The last tip said we should submit to our husbands on the big stuff.

What? No. No. No. No. Why? Why? Why? Why?


Why should I submit to my husband? I don't think he should submit to me, either. Marriage is supposed to be a partnership. We are suppose to compromise. Sometimes we do things my way. Sometimes we do things his way. Sometimes we come up with a way to do something together. We no longer go from our father's home to our husband's home. I was on my own for several years before I lived with my husband. Am I supposed to go from making all my own decisions and being in charge of and responsible for everything to allowing someone else to make all the decisions? I am aware that in the post she said "submit to your husband on the big stuff" (not everything) but I'm not sure that is any better. The big stuff tends to have bigger consequences that the entire family would have to live with.

Maybe there is a religious aspect that I am not understanding. Sometimes it seems like I am the only blogger that doesn't describe myself as a child of god, or a Christian, etc. in my profile. Maybe that's where this mentality comes from.

This is exactly the opposite of what I am trying to teach my daughter. I am trying to teach her to become independent. To be able to take care of herself. I'm trying to teach her to make her own decisions. How does that gel with submitting to your husband? Make your own decisions, unless your husband wants something else?

I just can't do it. I'm pretty sure I know where this comes from in me. My mom did submit to my dad, in most things. I guess growing up in a family like that, I could have followed in her footsteps or go the opposite way. I didn't totally go the opposite way. Actually, I find myself doing lots of things the way my mom would have. I let my husband off the hook for lots of stuff. For example, we had a slumber party over the weekend for my newly turned 7 year old. I had 15 first grade girls here. I planned it for the weekend my husband would be out of town, to make it easy on him. Why? That was stupid, I needed help. Also, two Sundays ago we were leaving church (we drive separately because my husband has to be there early) and I said I was going to stop by the grocery store. I was planning on taking the kids with me. While he went home. Alone. Why? Again, that was stupid. Why take two kids to the grocery store if I don't have to? Good thing for me, the boy asked if he could go with daddy. My husband even tried to talk him out of it. Luckily, I snapped out of it and sent both kids with him.

I know a lot of women do submit to their husbands. Maybe it was the way they were raised. Maybe that's just what works best in their family. Maybe it has something to do with their church. I know I have a very strong personality. I am very independent, always have been. I'm the oldest child of four, maybe that's why. I don't know but I can't just blindly submit to my husband. Nor, can I understand why someone would. I also can't teach my daughter that's what she should do. I don't want my son to think that's the way it should be, either.

I'm not the only one. Right? Someone please tell me I'm not.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weekend update 2/27

Wow, it's been a busy, busy, busy few days.

We had a death in the family last week. The visitation was Thursday night and the funeral was Friday. (No fun.)

My daughter turned seven yesterday, so, much of last week was spent getting ready for that. Last night I had 15 first graders at my house for a sleepover. Several times last night I thought that 15 was probably too many. Then, I went down when they were all asleep and took pictures and softenend a bit. It made me smile to see them in their sleeping bags, all over my floor. There were two last night that had never slept over anywhere before. One wasn't going to stay and then called her dad and had him bring her stuff. That makes me very happy. I like to be the place where kids feel comfortable enough to spend their first night away from home.

Here's the update on my PIPs:

Cleaning & Organizing
I was really happy with the way the house looked this week. I've been keeping up with my calendar (I'm hoping to have that posted as a page this month) so my basic cleaning was taken care of. I was able to clean the carpet downstairs several times (remember, the dog peed down there not too long ago.) I was also able to get some deeper cleaning done all while still keeping all the kids I do all week long.

Did very well with time this week. I divided up everything that needed to be done preparing for the party between every day last week. I bought my daughter's presents a little bit at a time since around Christmas. I was just a little stressed because I didn't get the floors cleaned before the party because I ran out of time. I was also frosting the cake right before the guests arrived. It all worked out, though.

This is one of the places that suffers when my week is busy like last week. No one got any individual time.

Another area that suffers when I am busy. I didn't get my meal plan written down, but did have something in mind. My husband was only home for dinner one night and when that happens I feel even less need to really cook. My son is super picky so he eats almost nothing I cook, anyway. My daughter will eat some things and will always try what I make but sometimes it's only a bite. That just makes it easier for me to get by without cooking. Plus, when I don't really plan our fruit and vegetable intake goes way down.

Being Green
I know I didn't do as well here as I could have. I bought plastic cups and paper plates for my daughter's party. I did wash the cups so they could be reused by the girls for the entire party. I was at Target last week and saw some clearance valentines plates, I wish I would have bought a lot and I could have used those for last night's party and future parties. Hmm, I'll have to remember that next year.

I'm not going to list everything extra I spent money on this week because I bought a lot of things I normally wouldn't have. Even with the extra birthday expenses, I think I did well. There were several things that I considered buying that I didn't simply because we didn't need it. It is so easy for me to get carried away with gifts or goody bags, and I have in the past. This week I thought twice before I bought something, especially if I considered buying it on impulse.

I over bought on pizzas and donuts and juice boxes for the party and I wish I had planned that better because it's just wasted money. Although, I'd rather over buy and make sure everyone had enough food than under buy and have the girls not get enough. I have a party at home instead of going to Chuck E. Cheese or Bounce U or swimming at the Y (etc.) because I think I'm saving money. This morning I realized I fed the girls two meals and snacks and drinks for 15 hours. I'm not sure I came out that far ahead and I had to clean before they came and after they left. I'll have to rethink that in the future.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Expired medication

Last month A Bowl Full of Lemons hosted the 21 Days to Getting Organized Challenge. Since I did so much decluttering and purging last year, I didn't need to complete all of the challenges (luckily because I couldn't have done a challenge a day.) I did check out the challenges and redid some of my areas.

One of the challenges was the linen closet. In my linen closet I keep more than just linens. I keep towels, sheets for the master bedroom and spare bedroom, medication and first aid supplies and a few miscellaneous things. Not long ago, I decluttered my linen closet. The part I still needed to declutter was the medication.

I have two bins that I keep meds in. When I need something, like ibuprofen, I take out the bin and dig. More often than not, I have to dig through lots of expired medication to find what I need. That's why I needed to sort through my meds.

I looked at every bottle and box in those bins. This is what I was able to get rid of. It may not seem like a lot but it took up a lot of room in those bins.

What I realized was that when I looked in the bins, even after purging all the expired medication, I still couldn't tell what was in each box or bottle. This is why there were several meds I had doubles of. To remedy this, I took a Sharpie and wrote on the cap of each bottle and box. I wrote what was in the bottle or box and if was a prescription, who it was for.

I'm linking up to Works for Me Wednesday and Organize with Sandy.

February jobs

Last year I created a list of jobs that periodically need to be completed around the house. I then divided them into jobs that need to be completed every other month, once a season (four times a year), twice a year, and once a year. I printed out a calendar page for every month and placed those jobs in the months I want to complete them.

At the end of last month I had to scramble to do my January jobs and still didn't get to all of them. The only job I didn't complete was vacuum the fridge coils. I figured that one would be easy enough to do in February. I did start pulling the fridge out and it was a lot more hassle than I expected so I stopped and planned to get back to it. Then, last night, the sweet tea fell out of the fridge, the top fell off and the spill started seeping under the fridge. I couldn't get my towel far enough under the fridge to get it all, so I pulled it out. Had I completed my January jobs I would not have seen (and had to deal with) this last night:
or this
or this
or this
Just for the record, yes, I think this is disgusting.

The top picture doesn't look near as bad as it could have because I wiped up the spill (and some dried up crust) before I thought of taking a picture.

Clearly, there have been other spills that I haven't pulled out the fridge to clean.

I'm guessing people who are naturally tidy don't have this behind their fridge. This is exactly why I created my calendar of jobs. This is the type of job I just don't think of doing and then never get to (obviously.) We bought this fridge when my son was a newborn and he is almost five. I probably haven't moved the fridge since it was installed.

I'm not exactly sure what the blue round things are in the bottom picture, maybe M&Ms?

I hope it isn't necessary to say that I made sure the floor looked like this
before I moved the fridge back.

I also vacuumed the back of the fridge.

While the fridge was out I saw this

Just so you can tell what you are looking at

It looks like there is five years of dust.

There is one positive. If you look close to the baskets you'll see there isn't dust there. That's because wiping the top of the fridge is a monthly job and I did do that last month. I just couldn't get to this part of the fridge. (Before my venture into tidiness, wiping the top of my fridge would only have gotten done if I happened to look up there, which rarely happens.)

So, I want to be sure to get to my February jobs in the next week. I hope by doing my cleaning by the calendar, I can avoid finding other messes like this in other areas of the house. Plus, I can take care of things on my time, instead of having to deal with it unexpectedly. I did not want to clean behind the fridge last night, but I had to.

In order to make myself accountable I am putting my jobs here and plan on writing an update at the end of the month.

February jobs:
kitchen windows (done)
cabinet fronts (today?)
vac curtains
wipe trash can
clean under disposal cover

dust vents (done)
dust doors (done)
dust baseboards (sorta done, daughter did, will try to do again)

dust entry light

Master bedroom-
wash comforter
turn mattress

dust baseboards

Good luck to me!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Marriage for my generation

First, let me say, I love being married. Please don't think that the post that follows means I don't. I love my husband and love my life. If you want to know more about Marriage Mondays and why I am writing about my marriage, please read this post.

I'm not saying everyone of my generation has had a marriage experience like mine. Having said that, most of my friends and family that are my age, have. I used to think it might be that we live in the mid-west, generally conservative and traditional. As I have been searching blogs it looks like it's not limited to the mid-west.

I was raised in a household that was very traditional. My mom took care of things in the house and my dad took care of things outside. She cooked, cleaned, did laundry and took care of the kids. He did all the handy man stuff and cut the grass. There were times when my mom worked and times when she didn't. That didn't matter. The division of labor didn't change. It didn't matter that the grass didn't need to be cut October through March. It didn't matter that my mom was constantly cooking or cleaning or taking care of children. As far as I could tell, that was ok by them. They both grew up in families where gender roles were very traditional.

I was also raised in a house where my parents' roles were traditional but I grew up post feminism. I was born the year Title IX was passed. Girls have always been able to do everything boys could do. I played soccer at age five on a team of all boys and I never thought anything about it. I wasn't good at math and science but was never told I couldn't or shouldn't take those classes. I always thought girls were smarter than boys. Until I started taking education classes in college, I never even knew other people thought boys were smarter than girls (I led a sheltered life.)

I think all of that is why I struggle with my role in my marriage. I struggle with my tendency to just do it all myself (because it's easier) and my expectation that my husband will do his share, spontaneously. Both of us grew up traditionally but we both believe men and women are equal. My husband would never have thought of telling me I couldn't work after we got married. On the contrary, he is more than ready for me to go back to work. Yet, he does not do an equal share of the work around here. I don't think he does it intentionally. I don't believe he thinks he shouldn't do something because it's my job. It just doesn't occur to him to do much of the stuff that needs to be done. Sometimes I'm ok with it. Lots of time, I get very aggravated.

I blame myself some because, until my daughter was born, I expected very little from my husband other than cutting the grass. He was a slob before we got together, really his apartment was disgusting. I figured that if I wasn't around he wouldn't be doing many of the house things so why should I expect him to just because we were married. I've come to realize that he should've done those things because that's what adults do. I get annoyed because when he is home with the kids while I run errands he can sit and play with them whereas if I were home I would have been doing some kind of housework. He has no idea what needs to be done. If there are dirty dishes he will do them. After that, he doesn't have a clue. He has no idea about cleaning bathrooms, dusting, etc. I've made lists, assigned jobs. It doesn't change. If we talk about it he will readily admit he should do more. I think he believes that I should be happy that he is doing anything. He does more than his dad did. Whatever he does should be enough. If I gripe about it, I'm the nagging wife.

I think this all bothers me more now because of what I think we are teaching our children. I do not want my daughter thinking it is her job to do all the housework. I do not want my son to think it is someone else's responsibility to take care of the house. We all know kids learn by what they see. It doesn't matter what we say, actions speak louder than words. I have a friend, who is also a neighbor, and the art teacher at my daughter's school. She recently told me that at school her daughter (in first grade) cleaned up the mess on her desk and then proceeded to clean up the mess on the desk of the boy she likes. My friend wondered if that is what she is teaching her daughter. Yes! That is what we are teaching our daughters. It's not that I don't want to take care of my husband. It's not that I want to be taken care of (although it would be nice.) It's that it is 2011 and I think it's BS that these things are still so out of whack in so many of our homes. It's that I'm afraid by not addressing the issue, nothing is going to change and our daughters are going to be in the same position we are.

I know not all marriages are like this. I know there are some where things are divided more equally. I know some women are willing to do it all on their own and are happy to do it. I'm not one of them. Although, I think my life would be easier if I was.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

My completed recipe binder

Here's my completed binder:

I didn't change anything on the inside, I just made the outside look better.

Weekend Update 2/19

So, I missed my weekend update last weekend (it was only the 2nd week, typical me) but I'm back at it this week.

Cleaning & Organizing
I still feel good about this. Even though the week before Valentine's Day was super busy I was able to keep the house from completely falling apart. I still had a lot to catch up on but it didn't take as long as it could have. It was mostly putting things away.

My daughter's birthday is this Saturday and we are having a sleepover. Today we worked on getting the house ready. I didn't feel totally frantic and overwhelmed. I know what is going to happen this week so today I was able to do some extra stuff because I know the basics are going to be taken care of.

Pretty good here, too. We have a birthday party to go to tomorrow and we still needed a gift. I was tempted to wait until tomorrow after church and pick up a gift. I thought ahead, though, and realized that would just be pushing it too much so I put the kids in the car tonight and we got the gift. This is going to allow us to be much more relaxed in the couple hours between church and the party.

Eh, could be better. My husband and I went to dinner on Sunday night and a movie on Monday (a really bad movie, by the way, Just Go With It, we walked out) to celebrate Valentine's Day.

I realized I'm a really good mom when the kids are behaving. When they are displaying their worst behavior is what I need to work on. I'm trying to figure out how to control my emotions when the kids are pushing my buttons. Last night my daughter was just whining at me again and again and I just left the room. It allowed me to get away and showed her I won't tolerate her treating me like that. I can't always walk away, though.

Last weekend was so crazy, I didn't get to posting my meal plan. I had a rough idea of what I was going to do and did ok. I was able to use up some food we had in the freezer. (I always love that. I feel so proud of myself because I was able to use that food instead of it going to waste. That's pathetic.)

Being Green
A friend sent her kids to my house so she could get her hair done and they brought their lunch, in plastic bags. I could not throw the plastic bags away. Plastic takes forever to break down. So, it was a pain in the rear but I washed out those bags and put them in my stash. Nothing spectaular but I feel every little bit helps.

This one was a little trickier. I went to Kohl's and Target to check their Valentine's clearance. I was hoping to get a couple Valentine's towels for the kitchen and bathroom. I don't decorate very much and like the way novelty towels and placemats let me decorate without much effort. I know clearance and sales items are a huge problem for me. Send me a coupon and you've got me. So, I bought more than the towels. Of course, I can justify all of it. Some of it will be for goody bags for the kids birthdays. Some of it is for my daughter's party this weekend. I just put the Valentine's placemats away and don't have any to put out now. I found darling ones with birthday cakes that we can use each of our birthday months. My problem is that I beat myself up for buying these things because they aren't absolutely necessary. I guess I feel like it's my job to make our money work. We are in some debt and I feel like we shouldn't spend money on anything that's not absolutely necessary. (I'm the only one in the house that feels this way, by the way.) We each get a little spending money every week and I have to remind myself that it's ok to spend it on these kinds of things. (Man, I've got issues.)

Knowing I was going to blog about money made me think twice about several items I picked up. I saw a watch with a pink band that I liked. (Pink is my favorite color.) Of course, it was super marked down. I didn't love it, but it was cute. I put it back!! That's not something I've always done. I think, "it's such a good price" and end up with a bunch of stuff I don't need. Yea for me. How is it I'm in my late 30's and I'm still struggling with this so much?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Back to zones.

Last year, while I was doing all my information gathering about cleaning, decluttering, and organizing, I learned about zones. Several successful organizing systems recommend you work in zones. That meant I chose an area of my house to work in for a short period of time deculttering or organizing every day. It worked very well. I got rid of soooo much stuff. I have room in my closets and drawers. It makes me so happy to see empty space in those areas. Problem is, stuff gathers and quickly becomes clutter. I need to get back to my zones. I'm not in near the situation I was last year. My laundry/storage room has become bad. Every time I walk in I just feel yucky. I haven't done anything about it because it is such a HUGE job. It's going to take a lot of time. I keep thinking I'll get to it one Saturday or Sunday or maybe one day this summer. Then, I remembered the zones. All I have to do is work on it a little bit each day. I started yesterday and am going to try to work in there for 15 or 20 minutes a day. It seems so much easier to tackle this way. Plus, yesterday after only 15 minutes I could see a difference.

First zone, laundry room.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The birds and the bees.

Whoa, that was close.

Tonight, while my daughter was taking a shower she asked me what would have happened if her daddy and I hadn't gotten married. I told her, she wouldn't be here. She asked if people who weren't married never had babies, I said sometimes they did. I explained that she was made because her daddy and I were married and we wanted to have her.

That wasn't the scary part.

She then asked, "How does that happen?"

I said, "A part of Mommy and a part of Daddy come together to make a baby" and then hoped that would be enough for her.

It wasn't.

She said, "Yeah, how does that happen?"

I said, "The mommy and the daddy do a special hug." Then I held my breath.

Whew, that was enough.

In theory, I want to be a mom who my kids can come to with questions. I don't want to know details but I do want them to feel like they can talk to me.

I already blew my first chance.

One time, my daughter picked up a tampon applicator out of the trash (luckily it was in the wrapper) and asked me what it was for. I freaked out (because she was holding a used tampon applicator) and told her to put it back in the trash and not to take things out of the trash. She didn't ask anymore about it. I've thought about that interaction several times and so wish I could redo it. I have considered bringing it back up and I know what I would say. I decided at that time I would have to play it a little cooler in the future. I have to say, though, it was not easy tonight. I imagine the discussions are only going to get harder.

I have a book called "Everything you never wanted your kids to know about sex (but were afraid they would ask)." I read through it once and knew I would have to come back to it. It's time to crack it back open.

Thingy Thursday/Snack Trap

When I started this blog, I knew there were going to be products that I wanted to share my thoughts about. Some would be good and some would be bad. I began to think about what I would call it. I like the idea of assigning topics to days of the week. I also like the cute names some bloggers have come up with. Menu Plan Monday. Works for Me Wednesday. (Is it alliteration when the words start with the same letter?) When I was trying to think of a name, the first one that came to my mind was "Thingy Thursday." After that, I couldn't think of many others. I did think, "Favorite Things Friday," but some of the posts will be about things I don't like. I just couldn't get past Thingy Thursday, as silly as it sounds. It was stuck in my head and that was it. (I wonder if the fact that I'm hard headed and stubborn has anything to do with that.) Then I read a post last week at A Slob Comes Clean and she linked to The Diaper Diaries for Things I Love Thursday. Oh, yeah, things and Thursday, that's good.

Here is my first item. It's a product called Snack Trap. I first started using these probably about 6 1/2 years ago, when my first child was a baby. I originally ordered it through a catalog (maybe One Step Ahead) and after I fell in love with it I got more from Babies R Us. At the time, I had three babies under one with me all day, so I had to have one for each. Here is a picture of my first one:

(I was going to find a picture online but I like the way mine has held up and my daughter loves monkeys.)

This thing is awesome. It's a two handled cup (love the two handles) that has a top that allows you to stick your fingers in to grab a snack but doesn't spill if it's turned upside down. The red disk is a top you can trade the other top for so you can store the snacks without them going stale. I really didn't use it that often.

I used to give the babies snacks while we were on the go (in the car or in a stroller) and didn't have to worry about a spill. I know some people don't allow eating in the car, that's not us, so I needed a way to give a young person a snack without having to clean a huge spill. Who has time for that, right? Also, out in public I didn't want to have to pick up a spill, nor did I want to leave a mess for someone else to pick up. Snack Trap helped avoid the big spills. (I can't say it eliminated all messes but at least the child isn't able to dump the entire cup out at once.)

I'm going to link to Things I Love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries.

After I originally posted this entry I found a tip on how to make your own snack trap on parent hacks.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Changing diapers

As moms, we change diapers. We probably don't realize how many diapers we are going to change before that first baby comes. We probably don't realize how many times we are going to have someone else's poop on our hands or clothes. We probably wouldn't believe you if you told us that, while we still think it's gross, having poop on our hands becomes no big deal. Well, maybe that's just me.

I've been changing diapers now for seven years. When my daughter was little, I watched two other babies her age (three babies under one.) When they were two, and still in diapers, I had my second baby. The big kids were still in diapers, my son was a baby and I watched a baby his age. Five in diapers (for a short period of time.) Over time, some kids left, new ones came. I've always had at least one in diapers. Currently, I have a two year old and an eight month old in diapers. Wow, I've changed a lot of diapers.

At some point in time every baby starts to reach to their diaper area. Sometimes they reach around the side, sometimes they go right down the middle. That can be messy. Most of us hold a baby's legs like this:

This allows us to lift the baby up to replace the dirty diaper with a clean one. As you can see by the picture, the baby can reach right where the mess will be. I've learned that if I fold the baby's legs (kind of like criss cross applesauce) I still can hold them with one hand and it makes it impossible for the baby to reach the mess.

This little maneuver has helped me avoid some very messy situations.

I'm linking up to Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family.

Recipe Binder

The challenge this week at A Bowl Full of Lemons is a recipe binder. Yay! Another challenge I will be able to complete. I already have a recipe binder and I'll just add to it and make it pretty this week.

I love my recipe binder. As I have said before, I am not a good cook. I am not comfortable in the kitchen. I can not look in the fridge and put a meal together. If I haven't thought about it earlier, we are eating sandwiches or cereal. Right now, my binder looks like this:

I started with an Avery binder I already had. I like it a lot. The pages turn easily and there are two pockets in the front and back. For the challenge, I'm going to create a cover similar to the one I made for my home management binder.

I keep all the recipes I use in the binder. If I like a recipe from the internet, I print it and put it in the binder. If I like a recipe from a cookbook, I copy the page and put it in the binder. All recipe cards I had, I put in the binder. This is necessary for me because out of sight is out of mind. If I don't see a recipe when I am planning, I will completely forget about it.

I put every recipe in a sheet protector. They keep everything uniform and protected. When I am using a recipe I take it out of the binder and if it gets splattered on, all I have to do it wipe it off.

The only recipes I have in the binder are ones that I have tried. Any recipes that I want to try are kept in a separate folder. I think I'm going to change that a little. I tend to forget about the recipes I've collected. Also, when I'm making my meal plan I usually want to get it done so I don't want to take time to look through a ton of recipes in that folder. My dividers have pockets in them. I think I will start putting one or two recipes that I want to try from each category in the pocket. That way I'll have a few recipes I want to try picked out already.

I created my categories based on the recipes I already had. They work for me. Here are my categories:
veggies & sides

I considered using my label maker to change my divider tabs, like I did for my Home Management Binder. I think I'm just going to leave them the way they are. The tabs are rounded and I'm not sure I can make the label maker labels look very good.

I will post my cover when I finish it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My husband

My husband came home tonight with roses for Valentine's Day. He never brings me flowers. (I'm not one much for flowers but I do appreciate them when I get them.) We don't exchange gifts, instead we usually go out to a nice restaurant (which we did last night) and be sure to do something together on Valentine's Day (we went to a movie tonight.) He also got me a card. It plays "our song," a song that was popular right when we started dating and one we danced to at our wedding.

I write my post earlier today, he brings me flowers and a very thoughtful card.

Yes, I feel like the biggest b****.

Marriage Mondays

I've thought a lot about whether I was going to blog about my marriage and if I was, how I was going to do it. One of the things I noticed when I started reading blogs was that the people who did blog about their husbands only had great things to say. Each of them was married to the best man and just adored him. It sounded like the husband was perfect. Maybe he was. My guess is that he wasn't. As I've said before, a blogger that I enjoyed reading, one day suddenly said her marriage was over and she and the kids had to leave. That was a shock. Reading her blog before that you would've thought she had one of those perfect husbands and, actually, perfect lives. Maybe he blindsided her and she didn't see it coming. I'm guessing that's not the case. My hope in writing this blog is to show an honest picture about an average woman's life. Being married is a huge part of my life so how can I show an accurate picture if I don't include my marriage?

I don't intend for this to become husband bashing. I love my husband, very much. He is a very good man. He's excellent at his job. He is a good father and husband. He's very talented. But, man, he can be really annoying. One of my favorite podcasts is Manic Mommies. It is one of the first podcasts I started listening to. It hooked me because in the first show I listened to the Mommies were complaining about their husbands. They weren't painting them to be idiots or completely incompetent but they were talking about their issues. They were being completely honest. Sometimes a girl's just gotta vent. That's what these two friends do and that's what I do with my friends. This is just a place for me to vent. I know I'm not alone but I haven't found any blogs that show that side of life.

I don't know how often I'm going to have Marriage Mondays. Once a week? Once a month? We'll see.

This is today's issue.

Last week my husband and I got into an argument. I like to get everything out there and work it out. He does not. He is very non-confrontational. What tends to happen is we argue, get upset and then just leave it at that. I want to come back together at some point and resolve it. Kiss and make up. He wants to go on like it never happened. So, we argued one night last week and haven't talked about it since. I've told him many times I want to resolve things, not just pretend they never happened. I have ALWAYS been the one to either do it his way and not bring it up again, or I'm the one who brings it up again to resolve the issue. I've told him before how important it is to me to resolve issues and how much it would mean to me for him to bring it up. He NEVER has, not once. So, it's Valentine's Day and I'm torn. Do I just forget it, wait for him to come to me, or bring it up? The issue is not that big. It's the point that I'm tired of being the one to do it his way. I'd like him to show me how important I am and come to me. In the big picture, is it that important? No. I think of the woman who used to get upset about her husbands leaving his socks on the ground and then he dies and she wishes she would see his socks on the ground. How would I feel if he never came home? Does he think about it that way? What if something happened to me? How would he feel knowing I wanted him to come to me to resolve something and he never did? (Actually, I'm sure that thought would never cross his mind.) I'm planning on us being married for a long, long time. I don't like having an argument and not resolving it. Do I have to accept that it's going to be this way forever or is it reasonable to expect him to bend my way at least sometimes? Hmm. We'll see. I think we'll be having a talk tonight.

Love & Logic?

I figured since today is Valentine's Day I'd stick with love as the theme for my posts. In this first post I want to talk about a book I was introduced to called "Love and Logic." As I understand it, parenting with love & logic means you allow the child's behavior to determine the natural and logical consequences. That means if your child is dawdling when you are trying to leave the house to go to a movie then being late to the movie is the natural consequence. Or, if they can't find their cleats because they didn't put them away, being late to the game (or missing the game) or having the wrong shoes is the natural consequence. Natural consequences don't always present themselves or aren't desirable to the parents. For example, a natural consequence for not getting ready to leave in the morning is that everyone is late. That is not ok if the parent has to be at work. There are times when the consequence has to be determined by the parent. For example, my daughter was really talking back last week (Thursday or Friday.) She needs to learn that I don't think that kind of behavior is ok. I don't see a natural or logical consequence to that behavior. My response to her is what I am struggling with.

The consequence for misbehavior in our house has several parts. First, they usually get sent to their room. My daughter tends to talk back while my son tends to hit. Those behaviors earn you time away from everyone else. Second, they earn an extra job (this is from Love & Logic.) Third, I recently instituted a fine system. If you misbehave, you pay me $.25. That works well because every week the kids earn a quarter for each year in their age. With four weeks it works out that each month they get $1 for each year in their age. I think $6 for a six year old and $4 for a four year old is more than enough. (It's actually probably too much but they divide their money between spend, save and give so it's not actually that much to just spend.)

So, the other day my daughter smarted off or talked back. I sent her to her room to get a quarter and she earned a job. I don't remember exactly the sequence of events but it went something like this: As she was leaving she either argued or stomped her foot, another quarter and job. As she came back she kept going with the stomping or arguing or talking back until she paid me $2.75 and earned 11 jobs. One part I'm struggling with is whether I should've just ignored the extra stomping and talking back. Some say you shouldn't get into a power struggle because, in the end, no one really wins. I think, though, she needs to know she can't get away with that behavior. She kept going to see what I would do. On one hand, I feel like I should have been the one to stop the cycle. I'm the adult, I should act like it. On the other hand, I think there needs to be a consequence for talking to your parent like that. Again, I am the adult, she need to do what I say. Even though I was getting aggravated, I kept my cool. She probably kept going because she wan't getting a reaction. So, in the end she stopped, paid $2.75 and needed to do 11 jobs.

The way jobs work here is that you have to do your jobs before you can watch tv, play Angry Birds or just play. Often the kids don't have time to do the jobs on the day they are earned. So, on Saturday, jobs have to be done before anything else. I know when kids are really little they need to have immediate consequences. I believe (as does Love & Logic) that after a certain point kids are able to understand that consequences aren't always immediate and that there can be consequences to your actions that you will be experiencing at a later time. Here's the problem, my daughter piddled and dawdled all day Saturday (before and after the daisy meeting) and Sunday (before and after church) and at noon on Sunday, she had completed ZERO jobs. Finally, by the end of Sunday, she completed three. She didn't get to watch any tv, go out and ride her scooter on one of the only nice days we've had in months, or go to her friend's Sunday for a playdate. I calmly reminded her a couple of times but didn't badger her because it's her responsibility and her choice if she wants to experience the consequences. She just wouldn't do them. The second part I'm struggling with is the not going to her friend's. She didn't know the mom called and asked. I told her late in the day on Saturday. Of course, she cried and asked if she could hurry and do the jobs and why didn't I tell her, if she had known she would have done them. I believe she needed to learn that you have to do what your told, because you are told, not because you want to do something else.

I think I did the right things but here we are on Monday and she has eight jobs to do. I asked my husband what he thought the deal was and he thinks she's just trying to get a reaction out of me. I'm doing really well then because it's not working. It doesn't feel good, though and, of course, I'm doubting myself. There are some things in Love & Logic I don't agree with. For example, once they talk about kids who misbehave at the park and suggest as you drive by the ice cream shop you say something like, "I wanted to take you to get ice cream but can't now because of your behavior." That seems a little much to me. In this case though, I think the Love & Logic ideas are appropriate, I'm just not sure if they are working. I guess only time will tell.

Anybody read Love & Logic? Had success or completely hated it?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Funniest website ever

It's been a busy week and weekend so this will be short and sweet.

Have you seen Awkward Family Photos yet? If not, you have to check it out. It's a website where people send in reallly bad photos. My favorites are the ones where one of the people in the photo sends in a commentary to go with it. One of my favorites of all time is this one. Maybe it's because I grew up in the 80's or maybe it's because I can relate with wanting to be a cool kid but not quite making it. When I was looking for that one this morning I found this one, this one, and this one, all funny because of the commentary by someone in the picture. Look around and find your favorite.


Friday, February 11, 2011

You're kidding me.

I was going to write a post today titled "Pat, pat, pat" That was the sound of me patting myself on the back. I have had a very busy week. My daughter's Valentine's party at school was today and I have a daisy meeting tomorrow, I am in charge of both things. I've been running errands and looking for activities for those as well as my son's party on Monday and Valentine's goodies for my kids. This is in addition to my normal days of watching a six month old (who wants to be held all the time,) a two year old who is into everything, a four year old boy (in the mornings) and my four year old, while getting other kids on and off the bus. Normally, a week like this one would have my house in a state of chaos. Since I have been following my calendar and doing my dailies, it's not too bad. The floors didn't get cleaned this week and there are a few piles starting to grow but it could be (and has been) much worse.

Then, yesterday my nose smelled something. Now, I think I have a super sniffer. I can smell stink, especially potty kind of stink, from very far away. I smelled pee. I thought maybe there was a rotten diaper somewhere. Maybe my son took his nighttime pull-up off and left it. Maybe I left a diaper on the floor that got kicked under something. I couldn't find it. Maybe there was something in the laundry room, nope. Finally, last night I got down on my hands and knees and sniffed around the carpet. I found it. My dog had peed on the kiddie couch we have. The couch went to the trash and I started working on the carpet. I tried spraying a couple things on it, no luck. This morning I tried baking soda, nope. Being the week that it is I didn't have a chunk of time to really work on it. When we walked into the house after the school party, my daughter said it smelled like the penguin house at the zoo. That's not a good smell. This afternoon I was down on my hands and knees again smelling and spraying a vinegar/water solution. The area seems to be bigger than I thought and now the pee has dried.

Here's the frustrating part. My house is probably in better shape overall than it has been in several years. Now, though, it smells like the house of a family that doesn't clean. A house where the children aren't bathed. I'll get it taken care of, I think I'm going to borrow my mom's carpet cleaner. But, man, I am not in a good mood. This has knocked me down a notch or two. Does it always have to be two steps forward, one step back?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Playing in the Snow

We've had several snow days this year. My husband is a teacher, so if school is called off, he's home. When he's ready to head out to shovel the driveway, I bundle the kids up and send them out with him. One day, after playing for a short period of time, my daughter came to the door because her wrists were cold. The skin between her glove and sleeve of the coat was pink and wet. Her gloves just weren't long enough to keep her wrist covered while she was playing. I took a pair of my old slipper socks (that's pretty much what I wear inside all winter long,) cut off the foot and put the cuff part on her wrist. I was so impressed with myself that I also cut a pair for my son. What's the saying? "Necessity is the motherhood of invention."

I'm linking up to We are THAT family for Works for Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Launch Pad

The challenge this week at A Bowl Full of Lemons is to create a "Launch Pad." Our launch pad is a place where we deposit coats, backpacks, and shoes when we come in the house. Then, when it's time to leave we know where everything is. I have a split foyer home so the space available when you come in the door is very small. I love the idea of a mudroom. I've seen pictures of mudrooms that have cubbys and lockers and chalkboard paint on the walls for notes. We don't have that kind of space, so this is what we have:

Pretty empty, almost everyone is at school.

Shoe basket. Nothing fancy. I got this from Target on clearance a couple summers ago. This thing takes a beating.

I keep dog leashes in the basket. These hooks where here when we moved in. The one closest to the door on the left is pretty useless. If we hang anything too bulky on it it gets stuck in the door.

Reminders for my first grader. We are working on personal responsibility. Her backpack is too heavy for these hooks. One already broke. I love the command strips so I'm going to need to find a sturdier Command hook.

Small hooks, close to the ground for small people. Everyone hangs up their own coats, even the two year old.

Higher rack for adult hung coats, hats, etc.

More low hooks because there are more small people. I found this basket at Michaels on clearance for $.50. I like if for extra hats and gloves.

Fully loaded.

Once again, more practical than pretty. (That seriously should be the name of my blog.)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pick me! Pick me!

Toni at A Bowl Full of Lemons is running a giveaway for a Thirty-one tote. I love everything Thirty-one but I am especially fond of their totes. I hope I win!

Menu Plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday (I'm trying to add a banner here with no luck, maybe I'll get it later.)

Short and simple.

Sunday-Colorful Cacciatore (The Moms' Guide to Meal Makeovers)
Monday-Chicken Tortilla Soup
Tuesday-Spaghetti, broccoli parmesan, bread
Thursday-Almond Crusted Tilapia, red bell pepper couscous, steamed broccoli
Saturday-?? leftovers? breakfast food? a new recipe?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Weekend update

I am going to try to start doing an end of the week update. I think being held accountable by the blog will keep me in check. I am going to base the updates on my Personal Improvement Projects (PIPs).

Cleaning & Organizing
I am really happy about this. I am following my daily routine as well as my monthly calendar. My calendar might need to be reworked a little but having it written down is so helpful. There are so many things I would not have gotten done this week unless it was written down, I just didn't feel like it. I have done zero of my February jobs. I will have to focus on those this week.

I have been doing really well with this. I've been getting us out of the house on time and in plenty of time. I still need to work on leaving a little wiggle room so I don't get so frustrated or rush the kids. Today, I sent the kids home with my husband after church while I ran a couple errands before heading to a birthday party. I shouldn't have tried to squeeze those errands in. When I got home I had to rush my daughter a little. She needs a lot of time to get out of the house and we barely made it in time.

We had a lot of family time this week. There were three snow days. My husband is a teacher so he was home with us. We watched movies, I made sure I spent time with my son some during the school day afternoons and I ice skated with my daughter today at the birthday party. I worked with the kids on picking their stuff up around the house and cleaning their rooms.

Did well with food this week. I kept with the meal plan except on left overs night we had cereal, that's a little embarrassing.

Being Green
I found a blog on living simply. Zero Waste Home. She goes a little to far for me but the tips are useful.

This is an area I am struggling with. We are on a very tight budget here. Very tight. We didn't even realize how tight until I really looked at our finances a couple months ago. Basically, until I go back to work, we each get a little bit of spending money and should buy nothing else. I created a binder for our finances. One of the sections is a spending log. This week I wrote down every penny I spent. That, in addition to this blog is really going to help me. Coupons, sales, and clearance items are difficult for me. I went to Target this week (for my binder!) and saw some storage bins at 50% off. There were these bins in red & blue and pink & purple, perfect for the kids rooms. I know I spent money that I didn't need to spend. This is how it breaks down:
purse (Valentine's present for daughter) $5
bins (2 small & 2 big for girl, 1 small & 2 big for boy) $50 (good prices but unnecessary)
throws (3) $15 (to cover furniture)
photo album refill pages (3 packs) $15
bulletin board (for daughter's birthday 45% off coupon) $9
lamp (for boys room @ 50% off at Target) $12.50
The purse and bulletin board, I am ok with, maybe even the lamp, because he needs it. It's the other stuff that I feel bad about. That's $92 in one week. That cannot happen, especially this week. We have Valentine's Day coming up which brings with it some extra expenses. I will have to use my spending money to pay the Target bill and that's ok.

I tend to hassle my husband for his unnecessary spending. This shows it's not all him. Even though mine is on the house and kids, it's still unnecessary.

Over all, I think it was a pretty good week. Money was my biggest challenge but now I know what I need to do.

It must be nice...

It must be nice to sit around the house all afternoon and just assume your spouse is going to make dinner. That's all I'm going to say right now.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

More practical than pretty

I think I'm finished with my binder for now. I want to add a medical history log but haven't found a free printable one that fits my needs so I will have to make one.

Currently, I have the following tabs:
Calendars-this includes the school calendars, the lunch calendar and when my daughter was in a sport, that schedule.
Cleaning-this is where I keep my cleaning schedule. First, I have a blank month calendar page that has my daily jobs & weekly jobs marked. I have a page with my daily plan. Last year I created a list of jobs I want to do each month. I printed out blank calendar pages for every month of this year. I wrote the jobs I want to do each month on the bottom and will fill them in as each month comes.
Meals-this includes calendars for the current and previous months so I can keep track of our meals. It also holds my meal planning schedule. (Sundays-something new, Monday-soup or sandwich, Tuesday-pasta, Wednesday-left-overs or breakfast, Thursday-fish/beef, Friday-pizza, Saturday-international) This section really hasn't been as helpful as I hoped and needs to be reworked. I think Toni over at A Bowl Full of Lemons is planning on having a meal planning challenge later. I'm looking forward to that.
To do-this is my master to do list. I for sure want to rework this. I have one giant list that has everything I want to do that is not necessarily time sensitive. For example, "create packing lists" is one of my to dos. I want to make packing lists for things like trips to my in-laws or over nights with the kids. I also have things like "grout bathroom floor" and "submit medical receipts." You can't tell by looking at the list what is most urgent or important. It's also not in order by the size of the job.
School-this is for the school my daughter attends. For right now the only thing I have in here is envelopes for lunch money. When my son starts kindergarten next year, I'm sure I will put more info in this section because it will pertain to both kids.
Kids-the kids each have a section of their own. Right now my daughter's has Girl Scout cookie information. My son's has his preschool snack and show & tell calendars.
Packing lists-I have a couple completed packing lists and will add more.

I decided not to keep financial information in this binder. I have a separate binder for finances. I have my home management binder out a lot and I don't necessarily want anyone nosing around in that information.

I have a couple good tips:

First, I put labels on the outside of the tabs of my binders. Originally, I used handwritten tabs because mine have a place to slide them in. Now that I have a label maker, I like the printed tabs.

Second, I put my tabs facing the left.

I saw this at Clean Mama. I used to put my labels the other way but when I open my binder I turn it clockwise when I need to read the calendars. Having the labels this way allows them to still be right side up.

During this challenge I have been looking at some of the other binders that were created. Some are beautiful all the way through. I purchased a new binder but am using my old dividers. My cover is nicely decorated now but the rest is more practical than pretty. (That should be my tagline. As I was writing this I thought I might use it as my motto. Then I thought, I wonder if that is trademarked? Then I realized, who would want to trademark that? Anyone selling something wouldn't want to point out that their product isn't pretty. But it fits what I do perfectly. More practical than pretty.)

By the way, my new binder has a feature I love.

The two pockets in the front and back covers are clear. I can put my meal plan in the front pocket and still read it. Perfect.

I did it to myself again.

So, last night I got home right around 10. Once again, I stayed up too late reading (this time it was blogs, then a book.) I turned the light off around midnight. As usual, my son was up before the sun. He came into my room at 6:15. Now, it's 4:15 and I. Am. Grouchy. The girl was at a sleepover last night so she's been in a mood all day as well. We are a real pair. Naturally, my husband is gone all day and night so there is no escaping each other. Then, there is the dog. He's annoying on a good day. Today he is almost unbearable. I'm trying not to be too grouchy toward the kids, but it's not easy.

How does the saying go? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing but expecting different results?

I've got to go to sleep earlier.

Friday, February 4, 2011

About there

I finished the cover for my binder. I like to do crafts, but I am not a crafty person so I'm pretty proud of it.

Now, I just need to make few adjustments inside.

It's already started.

So, as I was drying my hair I dried a weird bump into it. My hair is short so something like that is much easier to do than when it was long. It's one of those things no one else will notice, but I do.

It's going to be a long day.

It's just before seven a.m. here. My husbands alarm went off right around six. I stayed up way too late last night reading (it was approaching midnight when I turned the light off.) I couldn't fall asleep right way and felt like I was tossing and turning forever. (I didn't look at the clock, though, that tends to make it worse. When I do that I start calculating in my head how much sleep I would get if I fell asleep at that exact moment and it is never enough.) I'm supposed to scrapbook tonight from 6-11 and I'm supposed to run a 15k run tomorrow morning at nine. It seems like on days like today Murphy's law is in full force. The last time I did this to myself with sleep I put a gouge in the side of my fridge while I was cleaning it out. Let's hope today will be an exception to that rule.

I started this post before I even got out of bed and had to come back and revise it. When I was brushing my teeth I saw myself in the mirror and my eyes are so bloodshot I don't think I'm even going to try to put my contacts in. I better start the caffeine IV.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Home Management Binder part 2

OK, I took my cute binders back to Target. I looked there and at Office Depot but couldn't find a cute binder with the features I liked. So, I picked this up from Target:
It has two inside pockets and stays open. Those are both features from my original binder that I was not willing to give up. (btw-I don't usually keep a Cinderella bookmark in my binder but I wanted to show the second pocket.)
It also has a feature that allows it to be opened with one finger and the ring is gap free. That's important because I hate it when the pages get stuck and don't turn smoothly. I use this binder every single day so something that seems insignificant, like how the pages turn, becomes something very significant.

I chose pink (because it's my favorite color.) I thought I'd put a piece of scrapbook paper in the front and spell out our last name or home management binder in solid paper. I saw it on another blog. I'm linking up to A Day in the Life of Sonya because this may be where I got the idea. Instead of being on the cover it's how she did her divider pages. If I find the post I'm thinking of, I'll add another link.

I looked in my paper and found these:

The stripes match the binder but I think I like the ladybugs better. I'm pretty sure I saw a green one that would look really nice with it. It looks like I'm heading back to Target.

Mommy, what's this?

My six year old just said, "Mommy, what's this?"

First, I laughed.

Then I realized, I'm getting old.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Every day I try to do a load or two of laundry. (I'm not sure where I heard the idea first flylady, sidetracked home executives, messies manual?) I used to have a laundry day but that doesn't work for my family anymore. I rarely have an entire day to spend washing, folding, and putting away laundry. So, the one to two loads a day works for me. That means I always have some dirty laundry. The way I used to do laundry meant all the clothes would pile up in a basket at the bottom of the laundry chute. I'd then sort the clothes in piles according to color and when my laundry was finished the floor would be clear until next laundry day. When I switched to doing laundry (almost) every day I would have piles of dirty clothes all over the floor in my storage/laundry room all the time. I looked into the fancy laundry sorters but none that I found worked for me. Some were too expensive, some were too small. None were just right. This is what I came up with:

The small wicker baskets are for undies (dark & white), the three plastic baskets are for our clothes and the blue bins are for towels (dark and light.) The plastic baskets are sorted by color category. Blue is for darks. White is for jeans and pants (really most things with a zipper.) Grey is for greys and lights. (Maybe it's because I used to teach PE but we have a lot of grey.) The plastic bins can stack together, the wicker baskets can stack together and the towel bins collapse. I got everything at Deal's (a dollar store) and the most expensive piece was $5. It is not pretty but it works for me.

I'm going to link to Works for Me Wednesday over We are THAT Family for the first time today.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fridge clean-out

One of my January jobs was to clean out the fridge. I started on this last week after reading a tip on another blog. (Maybe Organizing Made Fun or clean mama, I'm not sure and couldn't find it again.) This mom said she cleaned one shelf at a time. That worked really well for a couple of shelves. Then I ran out of days in January and had to bust my tail yesterday to finish it.

I'm a little embarrassed to post the before pictures but my purpose in creating this blog is to show an honest picture of family life. So, here goes.


It doesn't look as bad in the picture as it did in person. The door bins were jammed. All the shelves were crusty. The drawers were gross. It needed to be cleaned bad.

Here's one of my first shelves.

Disgusting spills.

That blue is the tape that comes on the fridge when it is brand new. There was also tape on the drawers. I think we've had this fridge six years.

These are all the things I got off the door that were expired.

There are 13 bottles. They took up a lot of space in the door. I am always struggling for door space. We don't really drink here. Two of the beers are from 2008. See the three bottles of chili sauce? I make a dip with it that uses less than a bottle. I make the dip maybe once a year.

Here is the after:

You can't tell as much from the picture as you can in person but this is a clean fridge.

There was one problem with my fridge clean out. I gouged the side at some point.

I don't even know how it happened. I guess it was one of the drawers. Grr.

I moved my shelves around when I put them back in. Before I began, I think they were in exactly the same spots they were in when I got the fridge. When I was checking out other fridge clean out blog posts, I saw one that had the milk on top. I switched mine and liked the way the space worked out. I remember why I don't do that. My top shelf doesn't stay cold enough. My bottom shelf stays in the safe zone on my fridge thermometer while the top shelf sometimes hovers just above it. That's probably not good for any of the food but I feel much more comfortable having the milk where it's always the correct temperature. I'm going to fiddle with the temperature control again and see if I can fix it. But for now, the milk is back on the bottom.

January Jobs

Here is a list of my January jobs and how I did with them. These are seasonal (4x/year), biannual (2x/year), or annual (1x/year.)
Family room
clean sliding glass door-no
vac door curtain-yes
vac under couch and chair-yes
vac lamp shade-yes

clean burner pans-yes
kitchen walls-sort of (kids did)
wipe fridge top-yes
clean baseboards-sort of (kids did)
clean light fixtures-yes
vac fridge coils-no (but I will)
clean fridge-yes

wipe door-sort of (daughter did)
clean floor-yes

Even though I have a couple nos, I'm pretty proud of myself. These are all jobs that would never get done. Some never have been done. I've lived in this house for ten years and this is the first time I cleaned the oven. I must say that yesterday I was scrambling to finish the fridge because I knew it was the last day of the month. I'm ok with that because it still got cleaned out and looks good.

In addition to my January jobs I also cleaned out under my kitchen sink. I gave my mom all of my less green cleaners (she's going to use them anyway so I may as well give her mine instead of disposing of them.) I was able to get rid of seven large bottles from under my sink.

I'm linking up to A Slob Comes Clean for her January declutter update.

I hate the new binders.

I just moved everything back into my plain, boring binder. The two new binders just didn't work as well. My original binder has one feature I'm not willing to lose. It opens completely flat. The new binders didn't. I get into this binder every single day and it is much easier for me to use if it stays open like this:

I do like the two pouches on the front cover but the new 2" binder had a feature I would trade those for. This:

I would use a clip like this to hold my weekly meal plan.

Also, the bigger binders I've tried (this one and others I already have) aren't as easy to turn the pages in. As often as I use this, I need to be able to turn the pages easily.

Who would have thought this would be such a difficult part of the challenge? I'm not giving up on the idea of a cute binder, I'm just going to have to look a little harder.